Pharma Firm Earns $20 Million to Support Presbyopia Treatment Efforts
Seattle-based pharmaceutical firm Visus Therapeutics has acquired an additional $20 million in funding to support its mission of developing innovative ophthalmic therapies for people all over the world.
The increased financial capacity comes ahead of the firm's topline readout from Phase II trials of BRIMOCHOL, an investigational once-daily eye drop designed to correct the loss of near vision associated with presbyopia. The $20 million came in the form of preferred stock financing led by LSP (Life Sciences Partners) in Amsterdam. The other funding contributors are Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC Inc., Sage Partners in Hong Kong, and other investors from within Visus.
Along with the investment, John de Koning, Ph.D., a general partner at LSP, was appointed to the Visus Board of Directors. De Koning brings a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to this new role. He served as the organizer of BioCapital Europe for over 10 years, which is regarded as Europe's premier annual life sciences investment conference.
"This financial milestone comes in advance of the Phase 2 topline readout of our lead clinical candidate, BRIMOCHOL™, in development for the treatment of presbyopia. Financing from LSP, one of Europe’s leading investment firms, and Sage Partners expands our base of global investors and will support our drug development and commercial efforts to meet unmet patient needs," said Ben Bergo, co-founder and chief executive officer, at Visus, in a statement.
Presbyopia is characterized by the loss of near vision linked with aging, making it difficult for patients to perform tasks like reading fine print. It usually starts when one turns 40 and becomes almost universal by age 50.
In the United States, around 123 million adults have presbyopia. For now, reading glasses are the prescribed solution to correct this condition, but many prefer to not wear them for aesthetic reasons. There are no FDA-approved medications to date for presbyopia.
"After evaluation of several companies in the presbyopia-correcting eye drop category, we are pleased to invest in Visus Therapeutics and help bring what we believe to be a best-in-class treatment in this category to the global markets," commented John de Koning in the same press release.
BIRMOCHOL's formulation is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs carbachol and brimonidine. It has been studied in over 200 patients in six clinical studies. Results from the earlier mentioned Phase II trial for its effectiveness against presbyopia are expected to be released in the second half of 2021. If the results are positive, Visus said it will advance its investigational efforts to a Phase III trial.